Celebrate Asian and Pacific Islander Art and Artists
May 01, 2023
Images (left to right): Celebrate People’s History: The International Hotel , Claude Moller, 2 color offset printed poster, April 2012. 2020.23.61; The Fish Bearing Tree of Ngibtal , Ling Tebang, carved wood, circa 2002. 2003.157.1; Ganesh , Babulal Marotia, paint on paper, circa 2007. 2008.081.1a; In Contemporary Art, Does ‘Regression Of Subject,’ Discoursed Especially After Postmodernism, Have Any Correlation With ‘The Craftsman’ (R. Sennett, 2008) As Subject? , Hoon Lee, porcelain, stoneware, decals, luster, annealed wire, rubber band & mixed-media, 2018. 2019.24.1; Vietnamese Four Holy Beasts: Dragon , Khoi Tran, fountain pen and ink on paper, 2021. 2022.27.2a
In the United States, Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month is officially observed in May. The idea for this commemoration came from Jeanie Jew, a former Capitol staffer intent on recognizing the contributions and culture of Asian-Pacific Americans. Jew’s great grandfather, M.Y. Lee, came to the United States from China in the 1800s. Lee found work building the transcontinental railroad but was later killed during a period of anti-Asian sentiment. Following the U.S. Bicentennial celebration in 1976, Jew shared her idea with Rep. Frank Horton. In 1978 the first joint resolution was signed by President Jimmy Carter, setting aside the first 10 days of May, later to be expanded to the full month.
At the Grand Valley State University (GVSU) Art Gallery, AAPI month
gives us the opportunity to highlight some of the amazing artists and
artwork in our collection, representing countries and cultures from
the Asian continent and the Pacific islands of Melanesia, Micronesia,
and Polynesia. Many of these artists and artworks also illustrate
important connections between GVSU and AAPI countries. Artists with
ties abroad include Hoon Lee, who came from South Korea and is
currently an associate professor of ceramics at GVSU, and Khoi Tran,
an international student from Vietnam who graduated from GVSU in 2022.
The Fish Bearing Tree of Ngibtal by Ling Tebang, was a gift
of the President of Palau, Tommy Remengesau to GVSU President Thomas
Haas, while Ganesh by Babulal Marotia was acquired by GVSU
members on a cultural exchange visit to India. Finally, other works,
such as Celebrate People’s History: The International Hotel
by Claude Moller, remind us of the spirit behind the AAPI month, the
legacy of Jeanie Jew and her great grandfather, and the need for Asian
Celebrate People’s History: The International Hotel, Claude Moller
Moller’s work is titled after The International Hotel in San Francisco, a low-income residential hotel that was at the center of a Filipino neighborhood next to a growing financial district. It would become the site of a dramatic Asian American housing-rights battle in the 1970s, an important social justice event that is celebrated in this poster.
To learn more about Social Justice in the GVSU Art Collection visit:
The Fish Bearing Tree of Ngibtal, Ling Tebang
This work by artist Ling Tebang is a modern storyboard depicting an ancient Palauan Legend of Meduu Ribtal (The Breadfruit Story). The people of Palau have long been both good storytellers and skillful woodcarvers. Storyboards were introduced into Palau by a Japanese artist, and quickly adapted by Palauan artisans to their own traditions. This storyboard and another two-sided work by artist Linter Dismas were gifts to GVSU President Thomas Haas.
To learn more about these works from Palau in the GVSU Art Collection visit: https://artgallery.gvsu.edu/Search/objects/search/palau
Ganesh, Babulal Marotia
Depictions of Ganesh (also spelled Ganesha, Ganapati, Vinayaka, and Pillaiyar), one of the best-known and worshipped deities of Hinduism, are found throughout India. Readily identified by his elephant head and four arms, this god is believed to bring good luck. The painting by Babulal Marotia is one of over 200 contemporary Indian works in the collection.
To learn more about these works from India in the GVSU Art Collection visit: https://artgallery.gvsu.edu/Detail/collections/7
In Contemporary Art, Does ‘Regression Of Subject,’ Discoursed
Especially After Postmodernism, Have Any Correlation With ‘The
Craftsman’ (R. Sennett, 2008) As Subject?
, Hoon Lee
An accomplished ceramist and GVSU associate professor, Hoon Lee blends contemporary and traditional Korean approaches in his work, using a variety of unexpected materials and techniques. Lee has also helped foster a relationship between GVSU and SEOULTECH (Seoul National University of Science & Technology), resulting in several exchanges between students and faculty of the two institutions.
To learn more about work from this Korean American exchange in the GVSU Art Collection visit: https://artgallery.gvsu.edu/Search/objects/search/seoultech
Vietnamese Four Holy Beasts: Dragon
, Khoi Tran
In Vietnamese mythology and culture, there are four sacred animals (the dragon, unicorn, tortoise, and phoenix) that often appear in art and architectural decorations on palaces, temples, pagodas, and tombs. In this piece, we see artist Khoi Tran take inspiration from this long history of Vietnamese artists depicting the dragon, here embellished with a floral background in blue ink.
To learn more about Khoi Tran’s Vietnamese-inspired works in the GVSU Art Collection visit: https://artgallery.gvsu.edu/Detail/entities/5916